At Apriem Advisors, “Not one person is more important than another,” said Rhonda Ducote, president and CEO of the Irvine, California-based firm. “It takes all four departments — operations, planning, wealth management, investment management — and all the people within them to make the best experience for the client.”
Management took two important steps five years ago to intentionally foster this feeling of equality:
- Changing the compensation structure. Previously, salespeople received percentages of the revenue they generated. “That had set up an ‘us versus them’ scenario because everyone else in the firm was doing just as much work,” Ducote said. Under the new system, everyone receives a salary and the same bonus structure. The change motivated employees to work together and growth took off, she said.
- Establishing an employee engagement committee that solicited employee suggestions. One significant employee request was to make permanent the Covid-related hybrid schedule (three days in the office, two days virtual). The firm agreed, and not only did productivity and morale soar, but the virtual aspect enabled growth across the country.